My workflow for creating gifs with trixels in Hexels Pro

I’ve been a huge fan of Hexels and I just got word that they’ve finally released Hexels Pro 2 today! You can get it here. I’ve been using a beta version of Hexels 2 for the past year and I’m a huge fan, it’s totally changed the way I make art.

To celebrate their official launch, I thought I’d share a bit of my workflow for creating gifs with trixel art by showing how I made this “Support Garage” gif for WP Engine.

commissioned trixel art for WP Engine

I usually start off with a few sketches. In this case I liked what I had almost right away, so I didn’t need to sketch for long.
sketch
Then I open up Hexels Pro and set up my trixel mode. I like starting with real simple shapes and laying out key elements on different layers.
mechanic-wip1-compressor (1)
Then I added the worker, which I quickly realized was totally the wrong scale… so I had to redo him.
mechanic-wip2-compressor
mechanic-wip3-compressor
After I’m happy with the basic look of my scene, I go in and start doing finer details. To do this, I go into Hexels and hit their “Subdivide trixels” option. This basically doubles the resolution. So I start with big fat trixels, lay out my piece, then double the detail so everything still fits on that original grid, but I can get a few finer details in.

Then I started adding bits of shading to my pieces (by drawing lines with lighter and lighter transparency. When the piece is ready, I animated a little welding effect by drawing yellow bits on the layer beneath the computer. When my animation is done, I then export it as multiple png files into Photoshop, where I add a little texture (I just think everything looks better with some texture) and export it as a gif.

Photoshop’s “Export to web” option gives me better gif sizes and control than exporting directly from Hexels, but even so I ALWAYS bring my final gifs into Compressor.io to really get that file size down. This piece went from 500k to 44k thanks to Compressor.io.

Hope that helps, if anyone has any more questions (trixels, gifs, hexels, etc), please let me know. I’m also creating gifs for clients two days a week. So if you want a killer email header/featured image, hit me up!